PODCAST—Keeping it Going
Several listeners have asked us to talk about how to stay motivated and on track
with work in the studio. Maybe it is a reflection of the winter doldrums (which we
talked about last week) but blocks and down times can happen any time of year.
How do you cope with feelings of boredom and frustration that make it hard to
A big topic with no right or easy answers
What’s the main issue? Is it actually a problem or is it your attitude and belief that
it is a problem?
We think of blocks or times of low motivation as problems when holding up an
ideal of always being on track, motivated, productive but is that realistic?
Almost nothing in life is constantly rewarding and interesting
There really are no standards of how productive you need to be—the idea that
we need to paint every day can be an impediment to natural ebbs and flows
Give yourself a break--consider that you are creating your own path, making
something from nothing, a difficult challenge to always stay on track.
Part of the creative process is incubation; sometimes just recognize that
being stuck may mean you are on the threshold of something new, it’s not
a bad thing, you still need to push through but you are not on a timetable (unless
you have deadlines)
It still may help to just give yourself time off --you may be able to find clarity then
A few days or weeks apart from the studio does not mean you have failed
What else causes you to be blocked:
Resistance to some new idea that needs to come through
Being pushed in a direction that doesn’t feel right by something outside yourself--
major cause of being blocked
Recognize if you are feeling pressure from a deadline, something with a
gallery, some positive or negative feedback that is getting in the way—
Examine that, discuss it with someone
Trying to repeat yourself—a big one. A really good painting can shut you down.
Extract the ideas that interest you from the piece, it may help to put it away
and not focus on its visual aspects –example from my own work
Being afraid to totally change the painting—you don’t owe it to anyone to keep
anything less than what you want
Make a radical move
Don’t second guess the urge to make change, sometimes you really have to
wreck it first/creative destruction
A “pretty good painting” –the temptation to check it off the list for paintings
needed for a show or other commitment—but inside it does not satisfy you, may
be hard to acknowledge that….
Have several going at once so you can move from one to another.
Ross emphasises the importance of risk taking in overcoming creative blocks
Part of creative process, does not have to be a negative thing though it can feel
that way –deal with it in a way that supports your own path and not someone
else’s ideal of what “artists should do”